Revealed: Five “Snake Oil” Automotive Products Still Sold in Singapore
(Photo Credit: Car from Japan)
Super turbo nano molecular-ionising products to boost your car’s power and fuel efficiency, going for 50% off retail price! Check out some “snake oil” products that boast “scientific” grounding that doesn’t quite make sense to us.
“Engine enhancement nano-ioniser”, “nano-grounding system”—these are names of products in the market that claim to boost your engine performance and improve your fuel efficiency. Although some may claim that such products actually work, most people know that they are “snake oil”--products that are supposed to be magical cure-alls but which don't actually work. In this article, we explore some of these magic "snake oil" engine enhancement products.
Besides investigating what these products are, we’ll also find out how they work, and if they actually provide any benefits for your car? (Spoiler alert: no, they won't.)
1. Engine Enhancement Nano-Ioniser/Power Patch Stickers/Fuel Line Magnets
There are three main variations of this type of product, but they all claim to ionise the air and fuel in your car to make it burn better, thus generating more power and enhancing fuel consumption.
These products utilise either:
Magnetic “Power Patch Stickers”, which are supposed to stick to the underside of your car’s bonnet.
“Fuel Line Magnets” that are meant to be clamped around the fuel line, or
“Engine Enhancement Nano-Ioniser” reflective stickers that are meant to be stuck onto the car’s air intake box, fuel line, and ignition coil packs. We will also further explore these reflective stickers, as they are still being actively sold in Singapore.
According to a local distributor of this product, the tapes provide “Smooth Performance & Fuel Savings With Nano Ionizing Technology From Germany”. However, a simple Google search yields no results for this brand from Germany, or any where else in the world except for Singapore.
The distributor claims that their engine enhancement tapes are able to improve the car’s air, electric, and fuel systems, depending on where you paste these tapes.
In the case of the car’s electrical system, they claim that “when applied to the spark plug ignition coil pack or glow plugs (diesel engines) will stabilise and enhance the electric current flow as shown in the diagram”.
Here is the diagram they are referring to on their website:
Another quote we have lifted verbatim from their website is that the tape is “made from a formulated fusion of special materials to help in the molecular breakdown and ionization of fuel, air & electricity”.
On this front, we fail to understand how fuel, which is a molecule, can be further broken down to combust better: once you break down a molecule of a substance (in this case, let’s take petrol to be composed of octane molecules), what you get is an entirely different substance.
Even if air were to be ionised by these tapes that are made from “special materials”, we fail to understand how exactly ionised air would encourage better combustion to provide you with more power and better fuel consumption.
The wildest claim that the distributor has made is that their tape can ionise electricity. To clarify, electricity is the process of electron flow from the negative terminal to the positive terminal (whereas current describes the “conventional” flow from positive to negative). Ionisation refers to the process of adding or removing electrons from an element or compound to make them charged.
If the tape is really “ionising”, we would expect disruptions to a car’s electronics as the tape would be disrupting the electron flow in the car’s electrical system.
Another similar product to the engine enhancement tapes are Engine Power Optimiser stickers, which apparently generate something called an “Aquiver Wave” that helps to “increase air volume entering the engine and enhance the spark plug firing in the combustion chamber”.
You can read more about it on SGCarMart, which produced a feature article about this brand. However, we would recommend that you simply Google if such a thing as an “Aquiver Wave” exists.
2. Air-Suction Turbo/Vortex Generators
These products claim to improve your engine power and fuel economy by generating a vortex in the air intake tube of your car, thus improving air flow to improve combustion. For this reason, some distributors call these products air-suction turbos, while others call them vortex generators.
Our take on this product is that they may be of little to no use, as they will only reduce turbulent airflow within the intake pipe. Such an effect will not greatly impact the amount of air going into the engine, if at all.
The effect of such a product is unlike the forced induction that turbochargers provide. In the case of turbochargers, air is forced into the engine so that a more energetic combustion can be produced. In the case of these "vortex generator" products, there is no forced induction, but merely less turbulent air flow that is generated within the intake pipes. Furthermore, air in the intake is likely to be turbulent most of the time regardless, as throttle pressure is usually differs when driving, thus affecting the amount of air being sucked in through the intake pipes.
3. Nano Cable Grounding System
The most prevalent “nano cable grounding system” on sale right now is the Nano Ground Dragon, which touts itself as being made of “nano-metallic” materials with “small size effect” to make it “easier for current to pass through wiring harnesses, as a result, the effect of a vehicle improves”.
Make no mistake, a grounding system is crucial to have in a car, so that the car's electronic systems and passengers will be safe from electrical overloading and shocks. The grounding cable is grounded to the metallic body of the car, which acts as a large enough mass to take up charges.
However, many sellers of the Nano Ground Dragon claim that this grounding cable enables the car to enjoy better acceleration, smoother gear changes, and that engine vibrations will be reduced.
Ask yourself: how could a grounding cable possibly affect a car’s ability to accelerate faster? The acceleration of a car is dependant on the combustion in the car’s engine.
4. Cigarette Lighter Plug-In ECU Booster
This one is an interesting one: by plugging this device called a “PowerBar” into the cigarette lighter socket in your car, it will utilise “Quantum Physical Technology to increase engine power and enhance fuel economy”.
The makers of PowerBar even claim that the “Quantum Technology” can be experienced as soon as five seconds after plugging in the device.
How exactly does the PowerBar work, though? According to its manufacturers, it “improves the electricity conductivity and provides better signal transmission in the Electric Control Unit to smooth the gear shifting and reduce fuel consumption”.
It seems from the manufacturer’s explanation that the PowerBar almost functions like a piggyback chip—except that there is no way for anything in the cigarette socket to improve signal transmission in the ECU, because the two are not actually connected to each other. To “communicate” with a car’s ECU, an interface has to be plugged into the car’s OBD port instead.
To see how an ECU’s electric signals can be manipulated to actually change gear shifting and fuel consumption, read our guide to chip tuning. It is highly improbable that the PowerBar, which is made of “platicized steel” and is not plugged into the car’s OBD port, can be capable of affecting a car’s transmission behaviour or fuel consumption.
You can read more about this product's alleged effects on SGCarMart, which featured this product in its car technical advice article.
5. Fuel-Saving Quantum Energy Card with 20000+cc Negative Ions
Yes, that is the actual name of this product:
We don’t think we need to explain how a card placed on your fuel filler door will have no effect on helping you save fuel.
Give another example? It’s like saying if you place a card on a power socket, it will help you save electricity.
(Photo Credit: iStock)
Our take on “snake oil” products is this: car manufacturers would have installed them into their cars as standard if they really worked, considering the ever-tightening emissions and fuel-efficiency regulations.
This is especially so when these products claim to improve fuel economy and power significantly, yet do not cost a lot to install, compared to other power and fuel economy-enhancing technologies that car manufacturers use, such as turbochargers and friction-reducing coatings.
If you find yourself in doubt, just ask yourself: what exactly is “nano” and “quantum” that peddlers of these products are talking about?
Don’t let seemingly technical terms obfuscate you—“nano” is a unit of measurement while quantum refers to the minimum amount of something that is required in an interaction.
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*Disclaimer: This article was written based on the best of our technical knowledge. We have not tried any of the products listed here. It is up to the readers to discern for themselves the effectiveness of these products. We make no recommendation and claim no responsibility for the reader’s decision to purchase these items.
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